Do cell phones cause behavioral problems?
December 7th, 2010
12:01 AM ET

Do cell phones cause behavioral problems?

Evidence of harm from cell phones continues to emerge: First there was the possible cancer link, and now there's suggestion that those little hand-held devices may affect children's behavior.

Children who had exposure to cell phones both in the womb and after birth, up to age 7  had a higher likelihood of behavioral problems than those who had no exposure, researchers said in a new study in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

The behavioral problems include hyperactivity and attention and social issues.

"These are important findings, but we are just at the beginnings of learning about potential effects of cell phones," said Leeka Kheifets, of the Department of Epidemiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Public Health.

Kheifets and colleagues had previously found similar results in a smaller sample, of 13,000 children from the Danish National Birth Cohort. But she said that analysis needed further scrutiny because the mothers in it had been among the earliest adopters of cell phones, she said.

In this study, the researchers looked at more than 28,000 children. More than 10 percent of children who had prenatal exposure to cell phones had mothers who said they spoke on their cell phones four times a day or more. Nearly 50 percent of mothers said they had a cell phone turned on at all times.   Again, these figures are based on self-reporting by the mothers who participated in the study.

They found that, as with the previous study, the more frequently a mother used a cell phone, the greater the risk that her child would have a behavioral problem. This time around, they also ruled out a family history of behavioral problems, as well as the inattention of the mother. Cell phone use and behavior problems were not related to time breast feeding and spent with the child, either, the researchers found.

The association between cell phone exposure is not terribly strong, Kheifets said. Also, the authors do not yet know the mechanism behind the connection between cell phones and behavioral problems. One theory is that cell phone use may lead to excess secretion of the hormone melatonin, which can affect the mother's metabolism and may influence the development of the fetus's brain. But this is just a speculation, Kheifets said.

There is also no way to know whether the mothers were telling the truth about the amount of cell phone time they had. It's impossible to tell from this research whether cell phone exposure really causes behavioral problems.

Still, given how many people use cell phones in the world, it's important to keep an eye on possible harms, Kheifets said. She recommends limiting exposure to radiation through the use of hands-free devices.

soundoff (840 Responses)
  1. RV Repair Seal Beach


    June 29, 2021 at 21:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Sprinter Blower Fan Repair Near Me

    You need to be a part of a contest for one of the most useful websites on the net. I will highly recommend this site!


    June 29, 2021 at 22:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. 2010 Sprinter Seat Belt Buckle Repair


    June 29, 2021 at 22:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Camper Repair Shops Near Me


    June 29, 2021 at 23:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. RV Repair San Clemente California

    Good info. Lucky me I discovered your website by accident (stumbleupon). I've bookmarked it for later!


    June 30, 2021 at 01:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Nearby RV Repair

    An intriguing discussion is worth comment. I believe that you need to publish more on this subject, it may not be a taboo subject but usually people don't talk about these topics. To the next! Cheers!!


    June 30, 2021 at 04:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. RV Repairs Near My Location

    When I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I get 4 emails with the exact same comment. There has to be a means you are able to remove me from that service? Kudos!


    June 30, 2021 at 05:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Camper Repair Shops Near Me

    You need to take part in a contest for one of the highest quality sites on the web. I'm going to recommend this web site!


    June 30, 2021 at 06:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Repair Santa Ana

    I used to be able to find good information from your blog articles.


    June 30, 2021 at 07:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. RV Repair Shop Near My Location


    June 30, 2021 at 09:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Handicapped Van Repair

    Greetings! Very helpful advice within this article! It is the little changes which will make the most important changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!


    June 30, 2021 at 10:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Chevrolet Luxury Van Repair Shop


    June 30, 2021 at 11:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. 2000 Chevy Conversion Van Body Repair Panels

    There is definately a great deal to know about this issue. I really like all the points you've made.


    June 30, 2021 at 12:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. RV Repairs Near My Location


    June 30, 2021 at 13:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. RV Repairs Near My Location


    June 30, 2021 at 13:22 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.